October 2017 Report

WAVERLEY WRITERS OF FOWL REPORT to FOWL (Friends of Waverley Library) COMMITTEE, October 2017

Waverley Writers of FOWL held its 29th meeting on the 3rd Sunday of October from 2-4 pm in the Theory Room in Waverley Library. There were 6 people at this meeting, which Anne Skyvington convened.

Again, everyone there presented a piece of writing to the feedback session. This included 4 novel excerpts, 1 short story and one travel piece. It was another great meeting with a lot to discuss and to critique. Once more, timekeeping by Susan helped ensure that everyone had the opportunity to participate.

Before the feedback session began, our convener, Anne, presented a talk on our visit to a session on GIRAMONDO PUBLISHING at the NSW Writers’ Centre on 5th October. Although this event took place on a Thursday, it formed a part of the FIRST FRIDAY CLUB program at the centre.

This is what Anne and I said about the event:

Giramondo Publishing Company is an independent, Australian, university-based literary publisher of award-winning poetry, fiction and non-fiction. It was set up at Western Sydney University in December 1995 with the aim of publishing quality creative and interpretive writing by Australian authors, and founded by Ivor Indyk.

Nick Tapper is Commissioning Editor at Giramondo Publishing, where he works on literary titles in fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

  • Nick pointed out that Giramondo is interested in publishing diverse Australian voices: including cross-cultural voices; pushing the boundaries and playing with form; mixing genres; or doing something politically and socially E.g. Aboriginal politics and history, such as Land Rights.
  • Half of what they publish is poetry. Also overseas writers, and works in translation: Chinese, German, Spanish, French and Hindi.
  • They do small print runs of 700-1500, unless a nerve is hit, and are committed to staying small.
  • 25 books were published in 2017.
  • 12 people on the staff have to do everything from manuscript editing, distribution, covers, submissions, liaising with authors etc.
  • He spoke of the growth in writing/publishing in Western Sydney due to the uni there, and writers’ groups such as Sweatshop based at the Western Sydney University, which supports marginalised communities and individuals to identify issues that affect them.
  • It has to be a work of literary importance or merit, better than anything similar published before.
  • Giramondo Publishing accepts unsolicited submissions. They read all manuscripts carefully but are only able to publish a very small number of those they consider. They expect writers submitting to Giramondo to have familiarised themselves with the books that they publish and so they have included a field on the submission form for writers to demonstrate knowledge of their list. This includes authors such as Beverly Farmer, Gerald Murnane, Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Alexis Wright and Brian Castro.

After the interesting and informative talk, the group discussed the authors and novels on Giramondo’s list.

Our next meeting will take place on Sunday the 19th of November, from 2-4pm in the Theory Room in Waverley Library. We are looking forward to seeing you there.


Susan Beinart (Liaison), Waverley Writers of FOWL



September 2016 Report


Waverley Writers of FOWL held its 19th meeting on the third Sunday of September from 2-4 pm in the Theory Room in Waverley Library. There were 7 attendees at this 8th meeting for 2016, which Anne Skyvington convened.

Again, all seven participants read their own work as well as giving feedback to others. Members read segments from their novels or memoirs. All of the pieces were different and engaging and received helpful feedback. We were all entertained by the high quality of the writing.

During the meeting, Susan updated members on the status of FOWL (Friends of Waverley Writers), to whom we owe our access to the wonderful Theory Room in Waverley Library one Sunday a month.

Susan was happy to impart the good news that FOWL is going to start accepting new members again, which is a sign that our circumstances may not change all that much once the library amalgamation goes ahead. We shall have to wait and see. It is good to note also that Waverley Library is clearly alive and kicking. Hurrah!

Because all of our co-ordinators and most of our regulars will be away on October 16th, we have taken the unusual step of cancelling our forthcoming meeting.

So our next meeting will take place on the 20th of November, 2016, from 2-4pm in the Theory Room in Waverley Library.


Susan Beinart (Liaison, Waverley Writers of FOWL)


Our First Meeting

Sunday 21 February 2015 Present: Dina, Anne, Susan, Prim, Pamela, Libby, Madelein
Apologies: Garth, Geraldine, Gavin, Sunny

Anne Skyvington convened the meeting, and talked about the Guidelines for giving and receiving feedback Susan Beinart spoke about the Friends of Waverley Library, who are our sponsers. Seven people turned up, which was pleasing, given that no publicity has been done so far. Five people brought along poetry or prose that were discussed by the rest of the group. Madelein agreed to create a poster for the group.

Guidelines for Giving Feedback

  1. The Sandwich Analogy: Say something positive before something negative, then finish on the positive or how to make it better.
  2. Take into account the basic issues of narrative structure, characterisation, evocative and atmospheric language, vivid settings, scenes creation, believable dialogue: relevant to all types of writing.
  3. It is important, ideally, to be widely read, in order to give wider acceptance.
  4. It is possibly better not to offer criticism if you do not like the genre or style of writing under consideration.
  5. Take on the task of critiquing with a positive and helpful intention; read carefully, trying to understand the writer’s point of view and creative goal; consider the genre and the narrator’s purpose in writing.
  6. Is the emphasis more on story, as opposed to experimenting with language in a way that is investigating psychological or philosophical issues?
  7. Remember that some people may be highly sensitive in relation to some pieces on offer. This is especially true for new writers, or those who have not offered their work for feedback before.
  8. Think carefully about what is not working for you, and what is working, before you offer criticism.
  9. Give the positives first and say why. Give the negatives next, and say why it doesn’t work for you, and how you think it could be made better.
  10. Be truthful in your criticism. The writer needs guidance not niceties.Say something about story, point of view and voice if you are good at the global view

Guidelines for Accepting Feedback

  1. Be prepared to receive negative, as well as positive criticism.
  2. Try to separate yourself from the work as much as possible.
  3. If possible, look on your work as a “product” after it is “out there”
  4. Look on feedback as a valuable means of improving your writing.
  5. Be ready to respond to negative criticism if you feel that it is not warranted; give your reasons for your opinion.
  6. Rewrite your work in accordance with the feedback received, and see if it is better. If not, stick to your guns!
  7. Do not change your work if you still disagree with the criticism.
  8. Remember that all writers have received negative feedback at times.
  9. One suggestion is not to show your work until you feel confident about it.
  10. A sure sign that you can write is that you keep going after knockbacks.